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N.C.'s unemployed take lay-off survival course

Posted September 18, 2009

— Former salespeople, managers and a chief executive are attending a course at Wake Technical Community College to learn how to survive – and get out of – unemployment.

The "Ready to Work" program, which is also hosted by the United Way, teaches techniques for job hunting and researching career options.

Unemployed get 'Ready to Work' Unemployed get 'Ready to Work'

"What we offer them is encouragement, support, education and information to get them through and help them create a sense of community and networking while they’re getting through this," said course founder Gayle Manley.

"It's a roller-coaster of emotions: anger, fear, frustration," described job seeker Christina Holley. "You don't understand why this is happening to me. What did I do? What's going on?"

Course participants also learn about resources such as unemployment benefits, health insurance assistance, community outreach, food banks and food-buying tips.

"They never thought they would need resources that they're calling on now," Manley said.

Robert Lee said that he is grateful to learn about those resources after being out of work for more than a year. The father of two was laid off from a job he held since graduating from college 19 years earlier.

"Anything that I can do, you know, for networking, tips on how to survive – with being out of work for that long, money is pretty tight," Lee said. "You look at everything."

Course participants said they're preparing to be unemployed for a while, despite official pronouncements of an economic turnaround.

"It's more talk than, from what I've seen, action," Holley said.

"I personally feel like we're going to be in this until at least 2010," Lee said.

Course organizers urged participants to keep their eyes on the ultimate goal: getting back into the ranks of the employed.

"These individuals are clearly ready to work," Manley said. "They are ready and bring skills to the table and can provide value to an employer."

Holley found some encouragement from the lessons about networking.

"I believe that everything that you put out there in the universe will reciprocate back to you, so if you keep on putting yourself out there, you're going to meet that right person who's going to connect with you and get you that next job," she said.

The "Ready to Work" program lasts for eight weeks and is free for the unemployed. Seminars are offered weekly, from 9 a.m. to noon on two Wake Tech campuses.

One series started Friday at the Western Wake Campus in Cary, and the next will start Oct. 2, at the Northern Wake Campus in north Raleigh.


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  • Stringbean Sep 18, 2009

    When federal agents descended on six meatpacking plants owned by Swift & Co. in December 2006, they rounded up nearly 1,300 suspected illegal immigrants that made up about 10% of the labor force at the plants. But the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents did not cripple the company or the plants. In fact, they were back up and running at full staff within months by replacing those removed with a significant number of native-born Americans, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

    That was the most extreme example of what has become an increasingly common result of the raids: "They were very beneficial to American workers," according to Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain.

    "Whenever there's an immigration raid, you find white, black and legal immigrant labor lining up to do those jobs that Americans will supposedly not do," said Swain, who teaches law and political science.


  • Adelinthe Sep 18, 2009

    I hate being laid off. I've sent out over 100 resumes (url at my profile) since last October to no avail.

    I dislike being home every single solitary dad-gum day, sitting on this computer sending out more resumes, filling out online applications to almost every job I find.

    I like being part of a team, part of a good team that is. I love having somewhere to go every day and feeling like what I'm doing matters to someone somewhere.

    The only saving grace in my unemployment picture right now is that I'm also an ordained inter-denominational minister, so that gives me time to help others. I don't really make money doing that because all my wages go back into the ministry in one form or another which is as it should be.

    But I NEED and WANT to have a job. sigh

    Praying for all who are in my position and feel just like I do.

    We WANT and NEED a job - but there are NONE.

    God bless.


  • RaleighTruthTella Sep 18, 2009

    Sorry to break it to you norm, but Bush is steered us into this "3rd world country" situation. I love how everyone blames Obama as if he somehow magically created and orchestrated a recession in the short time he's been in office. Bush got us into this, Obama is slowly turning it around.

  • prn13norm Sep 18, 2009

    Who would have thought we would have become a Third World country so fast under Obama?

  • davisbaby Sep 18, 2009

    That is a wonderful idea. However, unfortanately, not everyone has the gas money to attend courses in Wake County. I hope that this program will be brought to other areas such as Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson, etc.

  • RaleighTruthTella Sep 18, 2009

    I've got a Lay-off survival tip:

    Smack Ramen, 10-for-a-dollar at Wally World! Nummy nummy num!